Let me be frank. Those of us who don’t experience same-sex attraction don’t understand it. Not only do we not understand it, but many times we judge it and reject it. By judging and rejecting “it”, we judge and reject another human soul who just wants and deserves to be loved. It’s time we understand a little bit about same sex-attraction.
What is same-sex attraction or “SSA”? You may think that’s a funny question. Everyone knows what SSA is. It’s being gay or lesbian: men attracted to men and women attracted to women. But is being gay or lesbian really the same thing as being attracted to someone of the same sex? Not according to Joseph Prever, a Catholic same-sex attracted and celibate man, who says, “….some of us in the Gay Catholic business prefer the phrase “same-sex attraction,” or SSA. I find it more accurate than “gay” or “queer” or any of the others, just because it suggests that homosexuality is something I have rather than something I am. That’s the way I think of it. So the idea of gay culture, gay rights, gay marriage, gay anything really, is foreign to me. You might as well talk about gluten-intolerance culture, or musician’s rights.” (“The Truth About Same Sex Attraction”)
Men (I bring up men because I haven’t seen women writing about this) who are same-sex attracted say there is a difference between gay and SSA. There are many men who have come out of the closet as having same-sex attraction, yet choose not to participate in a sexually active gay relationship. They do not define themselves as gay, nor do they endorse the workings of the LGBT movement.
Another way to look at same-sex attraction
Joshua Johansen, an SSA man who is married to Alyssa, describes it this way:
“In January, our son Isaac entered our family, and Alyssa became conflicted between her desire to work and her desire to be a mom. People often spoke of being “just” a mom, as if being a mom wasn’t as good of a career as a chemical engineer. Too often these comments come from other women. Alyssa has been grateful that the feminist movement has enabled her to go to college and have a successful career. However, she also feels that they have debased the most feminine of roles, being a mom. It frustrates her that just because she is a woman, people assume she supports abortion.
I see many parallels between how my wife views the feminist movement and how I view the gay rights movement. I too am very grateful to the gay rights movement for fighting discrimination. I don’t have to worry about losing my job or getting kicked out of my house just because I have SSA or walk or talk a little effeminately. I am protected. At the same time, I feel the gay rights movement has debased my choice to be a husband and a father and has made it more difficult for me to have and raise my family the way I want to. Worse yet, there are many political issues they assign to me that I strongly disagree with. The gay rights movement no more represents me just because I am gay than the feminist movement represents my wife because she is female.” (“Navigating the Labyrinth Surrounding Homosexual Desire”)
Joshua further explains, “Most people have sexual temptations. To me, sexual orientation is the direction temptations come from. I am not tempted by females. I am tempted by males. Therefore I have SSA. However, desire is different. My desire is to be faithful to my wife and son.”
Choosing a different path
The term “gay” assumes the desire for homosexual relationships, whereas, the vast majority of those with “same-sex attraction” do not desire gay relationships and choose not to have them. Some have found happiness in marriage, and some have chosen celibacy, and they are satisfied with their decisions.
Kudos to Joshua Johansen, Joseph Prever, and others for sharing their stories of this sensitive subject. The more we understand this issue, the more we understand those who are experiencing same-sex attraction.
Check out these recommended articles written by or about men who are experiencing same-sex attraction:
The Truth About Same Sex Attraction” by Joseph Prever (quoted above)
Navigating the Labyrinth Surrounding Homosexual Desire by Joshua Johansen (quoted above) This article is written by a member of The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), to a specifically LDS audience and has many references to God and religion. However, I recommend it for all readers because it is the most comprehensive explanation of this sensitive subject that I have read. Plus-it’s entertaining!